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Yet publisher recognizes measures shouldn't inconvenience players
The implementation of DRM (digital rights management) to both prevent piracy and control user access for video games remains a point of contention with gamers given all the examples of how it served to inconvenience legitimate consumers in practice. Outcry against DRM is real, and has even lead to console giants themselves rescinding on unpopular measures. Despite this stigma, Square Enix believes DRM remains necessary in order to protect IP and, of course, profitability.
Adam Sullivan, Square Enix America's senior manager of business and legal affairs, explains to Torrentfreak that any form of deterrence against copyright infringement, unauthorized usage, and data privacy breeches remains essential "for the foreseeable future." Sullivan further notes even the rise of free-to-play gaming will not likely eliminate the need for DRM, reasoning that F2P titles aren't necessarily any less viable targets for security/hack attacks.
However, Sullivan acknowledges that a "perfect solution" which doesn't manage to interfere with a customer's ability to play their games in the process has yet to appear. The key is to leverage feedback garnered from the publisher's sales teams, vendors and of course consumers in order to learn from past mistakes and work toward an effective strategy. Sullivan is expected to share further thoughts on behalf of Square Enix regarding the impact of DRM at the Anti-Piracy and Content Protection Summit held in Los Angeles later this June.
In a world where your Miis live to the beat of a different drum... well you can't really be sure what to expect. Nintendo is hoping that spirit of spontaneity will keep 3DS players coming back to the world of Tomodachi Life, the international release of Tomodachi Collection: New Life which achieved million-seller status in Japan last year. Tomodachi Life is scheduled for a North American launch this June 6th.
No, not Tamagotchi. Tomodachi, the Japanese word for "friend." In Tomodachi Life, you create Mii characters and give them voices and personalities. Your Mii lives in its own virtual community, and you can invite other players' Miis to be a part of it. Alone or with others, your Mii takes a life of their own and you're left to witness the fruits (or fallout) of whatever fun-filled fruit rollups they roll out with next.
The whole idea is that you never quite know what will be happening in the world of Tomodachi Life each time you fire it up, which is quite a bit different than the virtual community you create for Animal Crossing. It's not a totally hands-off experience; you'll be able to interact with and help your Mii make choices in context of whatever situation you happen to find them in. Get along well with this Mii microcosm and you'll be rewarded with cash or presents that can used to customize your virtual community further.
Tomodachi Life also supports the Nintendo 3DS Image Share service (already leveraged by Animal Crossing: New Leaf) to allow you to upload snaps of your magical Mii moments directly to Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook. Unlike AC: New Leaf, the service will be integrated with Tomodachi Life meaning there's no need to jump through all the hoops of going back to the HOME Menu and visiting Nintendo's Image Share site via brower just to post your images.
Check out the new Nintendo Direct feature below and savour the sweet Mii melodrama between Satoru Iwata and Reggie.
Now which of the original brawlers from Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64 hasn't been seen yet in all this talk about the upcoming games? Relax, today's Smash Bros. flavored edition of Nintendo Direct finally confirms Yoshi for the new 3DS and Wii U releases, now due this summer and winter, respectively.
What was the holdup anyway? In Masahiro Sakurai style, he explains that Nintendo and Namco Bandai wanted to take the time to tweak Yoshi so that the lean green egg laying machine carries himself with a more noble posture and gait- oh alright, he stands more upright this time around. No Yoshi brawler need live under the shadow of being viewed as a loyal steed for Mushroom Kingdom plumbers again!
Edit: This post originally contained mention of Zero Suit Samus and Sheik being made separate characters for the upcoming game. Due to the new screens made available, this has since been spun off into its own article here. And no, we did not forget about Greninja.
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Return to where HyperDimension Neptunia began as a franchise with... Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 (yes, we wrote that correctly). Re;Birth1 is the enhanced PlayStation Vita remake of the 2011 PS3 RPG that's now confirmed for a localized English release in North America and Europe later this summer courtesy of Idea Factory.
The Vita release promises to deliver all the original PS3 content alongside new gameplay improvements to bring it in line with the more recent titles like Victory. Heck one of its new features is even called the "Remake System" which will allow players to customize the game system itself.
HyperDimension Neptunia's claim to fame back in 2011 was its cheeky look at the gaming industry through the eyes of darling anime girls out to save the world which was protected by "CPU" goddesses curiously themed after console hardware like the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii. It's since grown to become a franchise incorporating several titles.
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Some internal reviews bring rough verdicts. No less than three studios developing titles for Sony platforms in the UK have been hit with layoffs. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe confirms an unspecified number of positions have been made redundant across Evolution Studios, Guerilla Cambridge and SCE London Studio itself.
These studios ought to sound familiar. Evolution for example is still working on Driveclub for the PlayStation 4 after the title slipped out of the hardware's launch window, while the Cambridge arm of Guerilla Games last worked on Killzone Mercenary for the Vita.
SCEE explains that the new round of layoffs was yet again down to the bitter reality of resource assessment. That said, SCEE at the very least does not expect Driveclub's development to be affected by today's restructuring at Evolution.
IGA won't be going back to Castlevania, but the Metroidvania vibes may yet linger
Former Castlevania producer Koji "IGA" Igarashi confirms today that he has parted ways with Konami after over 20 years of service, but he's not leaving the gaming industry just yet. In what is looking to be a trend with veteran game producers nowadays, Igarashi is striking out on his own to form an independant studio where he hopes to make the sort of titles that fans of his past works will enjoy.
He made no other announcements, but this could bode well for fans of the "Metroidvania" style games which Igarashi became known for while he was at Konami. Heck his GDC presentation last week was titled "There and Back Again: Koji Igarashi's Metroidvania Tale."
Igarashi was essentially the face behind the Castlevania series at Konami since Symphony of the Night was released to critical acclaim on the PSX back in 1997. The franchise was eventually handed to Spanish developer Mercury Steam, resulting in the recent Castlevania: Lords of Shadow series of titles.
February delivered a sugary sweet Valentine for the gaming industry, as the NPD Group confirms monthly US retail sales increased 9 percent year-over-year to reach $887 million USD. That's a change of fortunes from the 21 percent drop in total spending reported back in January thanks to slumping software sales.
To be sure, software sales remained in decline last month; new game sales fell 9 percent year-over-year to $318 million. It fell to hardware sales once again to save day, rising 42 percent to $347 million as the new PS4 and Xbox One consoles continue to be in demand. NPD reports that the gap between the two competing consoles narrowed considerably during February, with the PS4 leading by a "narrow margin." Microsoft already announced that it sold 258,000 Xbox Ones last month, so PS4 sales figures should be slightly ahead.
The software top ten chart sees a few newcomers including The LEGO Movie Videogame (based on... The LEGO Movie) and two from Square Enix; while the Tomb Raider reboot fell off the top ten, the all-new take on Thief makes a fine accounting of itself by landing in fourth place. The storied Final Fantasy franchise also makes it return thanks to Lightning Returns, becoming the eighth best-selling title last month.
Nintendo earlier today attributed a 180 percent increase in Wii U hardware sales to the launch of Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which sold 130,000 copies (physical and digital combined). Unfortunately this wasn't enough to place Kong in the software top ten, but JRPG fans will be pleased to learn that Bravely Default barely did. According to Nintendo the 3DS title enjoyed combined physical and digital sales of 200,000 units across three weeks. Considering Bravely Default was actually developed by Square Enix, and February actually turned out pretty well for the JRPG giant.
|1.||Call of Duty: Ghosts||Activision||Xbox 360 / PS3 / Xbox One / PS4 / Wii U / PC||11/2013|
|2.||The LEGO Movie Videogame||Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment||Xbox 360 / Xbox One / PS3 / PS4 / 3DS / Wii U / Vita||02/2014|
|3.||NBA 2K14||2K Games||PS4 / Xbox 360 / Xbox One / PS3 / PC||10/2013|
|4.||Thief||Square Enix||PS4 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC||02/2014|
|5.||Grand Theft Auto V||Rockstar Games||Xbox 360 / PS3||09/2013|
|6.||Battlefield 4||Electronic Arts||PS4 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC||10/2013|
|7.||Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag||Ubisoft||Xbox 360 / PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Wii U / PC||10/2013|
|8.||Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII||Square Enix||PS3 / Xbox 360||02/2014|
|9.||Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition||Microsoft Game Studios||Xbox 360||06/2013|
Spoiler: Synthisters do not sparkle in daylight after you destroy their clothes
"I feel this time they have succeeded. I do not want them to undress me. I want you to undress me." - Leon Trotsky (1879-1940)
The otaku holy land of Akihabara has a bit of a vampire-ish problem and only you can stop it in Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed. That's right, XSEED today confirms it will indeed be localizing Akiba's Trip 2 for North America this summer in both physical retail and digital download formats.
The cheeky new English title doesn't change what's at the heart of Acquire's PS3 and Vita street brawler: as part of the "Akiba Freedom Fighters", explore Tokyo’s famous “Electric Town” electronics district in search of mysterious "Synthisters" who are preying on the citizenry's will to live. Only the power of sunlight can defeat these vampire-like foes, but in order to make that happen you must... destroy their clothes first.
You'll seek out Synthisters hidden among the crowds with the help of your smartphone, then do battle with them using anything on hand in order to, ahem, undress them. Once their clothes are gone, the power of sunlight will sends the Synthisters packing. As as a Synthister victim who survived thanks to the kiss of a mysterious hunter, your goal is to find out what's behind this mysterious outbreak.
This is serious stuff right here, people. Just ask XSEED, which is making an equally serious effort to retain as much of the original content from the Japanese game in the localized release, including Japanese audio and product placements.
If you have a 3DS and one of six select titles, you're already set
Nintendo isn't exactly stingy when it comes to handing out free Pokemon to players, but next month is your chance to score actual Pokemon games and we're not just talking some spinoff entry. 3DS owners who register their handheld and one of six select 3DS games at Club Nintendo starting March 1st are entitled to a free download of Pokemon X or Y.
Deals don't get more attractive than free, but it's not like Nintendo is needing to offload dead weight with Pokemon X and Y (this offer is only for digital downloads, anyway). The latest flagship Pokemon titles hit a million units in sales on launch day alone. Their combined sales were sitting at some 11.61 million worldwide by the end of January 2014.
The titles eligible for the reward program include:
- Animal Crossing: New Leaf
- Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
- LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins
- Mario Kart 7
- Super Mario 3D Land
- Yoshi's New Island
Link up your 3DS (original or XL) or 2DS handheld to your Club Nintendo account and register any of the above titles before March 31st, 2014 to be elibigle for a download code for either Pokemon X or Y (not both!). If you already have one or more of these titles or are thinking about picking any up anytime soon, think of this as an additional bonus. This could also be a golden opportunity for existing Pokemaniacs to get the other version of Pokemon X/Y.
Donkey Kong's got backup not only in the new DK Country: Tropical Freeze, but in Super Smash Bros. too now that director Masahiro Sakurai confirms Diddy Kong's triumphant return as playable character in the upcoming brawler for Wii U and 3DS.
Diddy's back and he's still taking yoga lessons from Street Fighter's Dhalsim judging from those stretchy limbs of his. He'll also be bringing over his gadgets from DKC again, because Diddy is quite the clever little simian.
February has been good so far with the Smash Bros. reveals, as Punch-Out!!'s Little Mac was also confirmed to be playable just a week ago.
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- PlayStation 4's 1.70 update adds SHAREfactory video editor, pre-launch game downloads 
- Codemasters teasing GRID 2 follow-up with cockpit view, reveal expected April 22 
- League of Legends: Trials of the Poro animated short is ADORABLE, could be teasing new champ 
- March NPD Number Crunch: PS4 maintains hardware lead for third consecutive month 
- Halo and Destiny composer Martin O'Donnell fired "without cause" by Bungie 
- Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS knows who that Pokemon is, it's Charizard and Greninja 
- Batman: Arkham Knight screenshots get up close with Oracle and rogues, including creepy Riddler 
- Lost Dimension PS Vita/PS3 RPG announced from Lancarse, Etrian Odyssey veterans 
- Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct Live Blog: Bring on that release date! 
- Super Smash Bros. Wii U/3DS knows who that Pokemon is, it's Charizard and Greninja 
- Super Smash Bros. focused Nintendo Direct airs April 8, dare we hope for a release date? 
- April Fool's: Google Maps now tracking Pokemon, creates challenge to find true Pokemon Master 
- Yoshi stands triumphant at last for Super Smash Bros 3DS & Wii U 
- Xbox One 'Reputation' update coming, red 'Avoid Me' reputation leads to penalties